Case Study: Fighting Taxes to Preserve Jobs

Posted by Kassy Perry

Grass Tops Grow Roots

Every day employers are challenged with the rising cost of doing business, and new taxes are often job killers. A narrow profit margin combined with frequent revenue fluctuation makes hospitality businesses particularly vulnerable. When San Francisco lawmakers proposed a “nickel per drink” tax that would start with wholesalers, pass on to business owners/operators and ultimately cost consumers and threaten thousands of jobs, the hospitality industry wasn’t organized to react.

PCG envisioned, created and secured funding for the California Alliance for Hospitality Jobs to highlight the important role the hospitality industry plays in California’s economy. A swift response included developing materials, resources and communications to quickly unite and activate suppliers, restaurateurs, business owners, trade associations and rank and file employees. The Alliance was established as the voice of reason and through a Website, earned media and social networking conveyed the urgency and threat of the proposed tax to the economy while laying a foundation for future advocacy. More than 750 members formed a true grassroots coalition, triggering a powerful public response which humanized the negative impacts of increased alcohol taxes on individuals and their families.


  • A vote to impose a “nickel per drink” tax was vetoed by San Francisco’s mayor, citing the need to protect the City’s economy and jobs
  • The California Alliance for Hospitality Jobs united a diverse group of people working in and with the hospitality industry, providing the ability to respond convincingly when the industry is threatened
  • Online communication assets provided flexibility, broad reach and a mechanism for rapid member activation on local, state and federal issues


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